Putting your kids on social media

This post has been bubbling around in my brain for a while… I haven’t really shared much of my kids online in a long time. Things have changed around here, they are getting older, they are getting savvy and I have learnt some new stuff along the way. I am sure some people think I just sit in my house on my own and ban my children from entering, or some people even forget I have kids, because they don’t feature on my blog or Instagram much any more haha. 😉 But in fact, they take up 95% of my time and I only share the pretty and fancy 5% of my day!

Today I wanted to share with you a few things I have learnt… I follow a few great Mummy Blogs and Instagrammers who spam us with their kids. I like watching, and the kids are soooo cute, but it does stress me out a little.

My boys are now 15, 12 and almost 11. The eldest is on all social media and the other two have dipped their toes in recently with Instagram and Snapchat. My reasoning behind letting them use social media is a post for another day. But anyway, they are using it. They are all over it. It’s here to stay.

I work online a lot. I am on it pretty much every day sharing snippets here and there. But my kids do not want to feature on ANY of it. If they so much as get a whiff of a photo or a comment circulating about them they will fly in to a rage. So I know better. Anything that is put online now comes with permission. They must view it, see what I write and agree to it. I have hundreds of fun and cute photos sitting on my phone, but I know none of it will ever end up online. I am respecting their wishes, and I should not be in charge of what everyone sees and knows about them. Plus I think they like having a heads up. They don’t want to get a screenshot or winky smiley face of them when they had no idea.

What I am noticing is that they also get quite upset if a baby photo or anything from YouTube (which we may have recorded years ago) gets mentioned. I have even gone back on some old stuff and deleted it. They don’t think it’s cute or funny. They just feel embarrassed.

Here’s the other thing… if they don’t directly see what’s online about them then I can GUARANTEE someone they know will see it and bring it to their attention. It’s happened… Boys who don’t like them will say something, girls who stalk them will see it. Parents read it and mention it in their homes. I promise it happens!

And it’s upsetting me to see some parents are carving out a very heavy digital footprint for their children already.

I have some pretty awful days and I could go to town on the stuff that happens around here, but it must all stay offline for the sake of my boys. I could also write a great parenting book on dealing with 3 boys, their hormones, changes, friendships, aggression and teaching them about the highs and lows of life! But these years are crucial and I feel that not everyone needs to know about their dramas/triumphs.

Most kids won’t catch on to all the social media stuff until they are about 10 years old. And when they do they will google themselves or start stalking you. Now what happens if they are a very shy and private child?? Maybe they aren’t as outgoing and carefree as you are? When the teenage years hit, they won’t think it’s cute like we do. My almost 11 year old found stuff online about him when he was 2 years old. He was in the nude (you could only see his bum) and he was crying because he fell in some mud, but he didn’t like it being online. I thought it was funny and cute – he didn’t. Lesson learnt.

Our generation doesn’t know how that feels – to be displayed online by our parents – because there was no internet. I love looking at my baby photos and the teenage years when I had a perm, but I get to choose whether anyone sees them or not.

I started out as a “Mummy Blogger” but it had to end at some point and I can see now why it had to. Teenage boys (well mine anyway!) don’t want to be on show. And I don’t want to force them to be. I don’t want people judging my kids based on all the online stuff I put out there.

So I’ll stick to photos of the dog, my house, the sky and the occasional family photo (when each person has approved it!).

I’m not saying people who have little kids need to stop, but I am suggesting just to consider that their personality may be a little different to yours… they may be more reserved and private, but by the time they can speak up, there will be so many photos and so much said about them that they become embarrassed and angry.

Just some food for thought. Have you had any similar online experiences with your kids?

♥ KC.

May 27, 2017

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44 Comments

  1. Reply

    Helen Holder

    May 26, 2017

    Great post Katrina

  2. Reply

    Jackie Scouller

    May 26, 2017

    Great post but can I ask the question?

    Is the hate for baby pics and memorable moment caused by lack of self confidence or self love in our children? Or is it coming from the fear of bullies around them. I want my kids to be happy and proud of there whole life not just the glamour parts and having 2 girls one boy I find it’s important in today’s society

    Ps: question not directed at your boys just a general one

    • Reply

      Katrina Chambers

      May 26, 2017

      They are happy to look at the photos. That doesn’t worry them. They aren’t embarrassed by their “image”. It’s probably more of a fear of others/bullies/judgements. It’s because they are still trying to figure themselves out, and where they fit in the world. They don’t have the maturity to brush off comments just yet. They’ll work it out, but in their own time Jack. That’s what I think anyway

    • Reply

      Jackie Scouller

      May 26, 2017

      It can be so hard for all kids can’t it

  3. Reply

    Dani Golding

    May 26, 2017

    My son who is almost 12 told me not to post any pics of him without permission (that was probably when he was about 8!) My daughter followed suit and I have respected it.

  4. Reply

    Anna Streat

    May 26, 2017

    Great post. I can think of a few bloggers who would do well to read your post.

  5. Reply

    Maya @ House Nerd

    May 26, 2017

    I love that you wrote this post Katrina – thank you! This is something that I have been thinking a LOT about lately. (I actually just wrote a little bit about it in my latest post too!) I am a mum to a nearly two-year-old boy and have a small online presence. Much smaller than yours but I still think about it a lot. I want to respect my boy’s privacy, but I also worry if I will impact on him down the track. I swing from wanting to share photos because of course I think he’s amazing and he’s a huge part of my life (same with you and your boys!) to thinking, “No, I shouldn’t…. would that embarrass him in the future?”

    It was very interesting for me to read your post as you’re a mum of three boys but also because you’ve been blogging/online a long time and before a lot of people were writing blogs, having IG, etc and now your boys are at the age where a social media presence can have an effect. Previously I couldn’t find any examples of other people whose kids had been affected in some way by their online presence and I’d always wondered, “How will it affect the kids when they’re older?”

    The thing is, like you I also love following particular mummy bloggers/mummy Instagrammers and yes probably some of them overshare…. putting stuff about poo explosions and vomits and all that stuff online – sure it can be funny, and it may make other mums feel better and more able to cope with daily parenting life in the interim, but will it embarrass the kids later? I guess you can always delete it when the kid is older! Sorry for the novel 🙂

  6. Reply

    Amy Goodman

    May 26, 2017

    I’m curious, (aka nosey! ) is this just with open to the public social media? Insta, blogs etc? Or do you not upload your family pics to your personal Facebook either? My personal Facebook is my digital photo album. I hope my girls don’t want me to stop posting our family snaps one day or want me to delete all the albums. I should of been cataloging the albums years ago but I haven’t. They are all just loaded to the back up hard drive in no order or defined albums. It’s a mess. Fb is where I go to find a photo quickly because those albums are perfectly organised. Eeek! I better start being more organised with the back up files from this point. My eldest is 9.

    • Reply

      Sarah Matulewicz

      May 26, 2017

      You could leave them up there but make albums private – only you can see them. Or start using an online system like google drive. 🙂

    • Reply

      Katrina Chambers

      May 26, 2017

      I probably put a little more on my private facebook page 🙂

  7. Reply

    michelle ball

    May 26, 2017

    I actually agree with what you are saying, i do love baby shots and melt when i see them on instagram from people. but most of them i drool over are from people i have worked with on tv and got to know on a more than sitting in my loungeroom type of relationship. my kids are now grown and i am so proud of them, but they too are very personal as we are, we too have a lot of stuff going down and decide not to write or picture it because you know life has it s ups and down, but not everyone needs to hear it. i really love seeing rooms and design stuff on insta apart from that i am not really interested if you picking flowers as the sun rises over the mountains and the dew kisses the petals as you look into the flower and think shit theres a bee lol

  8. Reply

    Lydia Valeriano

    May 26, 2017

    I agree ☝️

  9. Reply

    Amy Douglas

    May 26, 2017

    I’d be telling mine to toughen up a little. I think we pander to our kids every need too quickly and we should be encouraging resilience. And, I definitely wouldn’t allow a younger one on instagram (full or porn) or snap chat (well known for sexting).

    • Reply

      Katrina Chambers

      May 26, 2017

      I tell them to toughen up in so many other ways. They don’t need me randomly posting stuff online though. There are enough pressures in this digital age. Instagram/snapchat and private accounts and monitoring is ok with me.

  10. Reply

    Justine Drain

    May 26, 2017

    I have 13 year old twins, and once they pegged that we put photos of them on our Facebook pages they firmly asked us not to. This is the first generation that this has happened to, and the fact they are asking for control and privacy should speak volumes to us as parents x

  11. Reply

    Toni Bailey

    May 26, 2017

    If you knew what paedophiles are capable of in terms of getting through privacy settings etc, you’d probably think twice about posting any pics of your kids at all… but that’s just my opinion.

  12. Reply

    Megan Key

    May 26, 2017

    Let’s face it – kids have always been cruel…but today’s kids have so many more tools at hand to easily access others. They can snap the snapchat and share pics etc…
    We never had to deal with social media (thank god!) – being a kid is unfortunately so different these days.
    I also think as adults we have to be aware of who we are friends with – Katrina for example has heaps of her kids friends following her on Instagram – so anything she posts is seen by her kids friends…
    Kids are “connected” these days whether we like it or not! I always say to miss 12 – look with your eyes not ur phone (taking pictures) – you’ll see so much more!!!

    • Reply

      Katrina Chambers

      May 26, 2017

      I always know when school is out!

    • Reply

      Megan Key

      May 26, 2017

      Katrina Chambers hahaha! You are such a cool mum! They all love you!

  13. Reply

    Jenni Eyles

    May 26, 2017

    I have to get permission for every single pic and I never use their names. I do write about the occasional parenting moment but am not a mummy blogger.

  14. Reply

    Acce Donnie

    May 26, 2017

    Great post!! I couldn’t agree more!!

  15. Reply

    Ange McThiso

    May 26, 2017

    I don’t post my child publicly I hide her face but post lots on my personal to share with friends and family. I have asked grandparents and aunts to take down public photos too. It’s a creep factor / identification thing for me.

  16. Reply

    Tania Young

    May 26, 2017

    14yo and 17yo…..me posting about them is soooooo embarassing!!!

  17. Reply

    Andrea Arnold

    May 26, 2017

    Am definitely more aware of what gets posted. The older kids (14,12) don’t want to have their pics or achievements shared. I respect that now. Now also more aware of sharing pics of the 5 year old too. Just the dog, myself, or the sky for me too!

  18. Reply

    The Positive Running Mumma

    May 26, 2017

    I LOVE this! Totally agree and have always been very cautious about what I have ever posted on my girls! Like the photo for this article I try to post ambiguous pics of my girls when I do these days xx

  19. Reply

    Megan Jackson

    May 26, 2017

    Thanks for sharing a different perspective on this. I’ve never looked at it this way and it’s quite true – our kids will see it all some day and may not be too thrilled about what they find. Appreciate the blog

  20. Reply

    Jorja Thompson

    May 26, 2017

    I just went to a social media seminar last night, scared the absolute crap out me!! The fact that once you post a photo on fb it is property of Facebook.. Instagram & hash tags of our kids, our businesses and even where we have coffee makes us and our kids open to so much “online grooming” it was scary crazy!

  21. Reply

    Tanya Matulic-Bebic

    May 26, 2017

    Yep good post!

  22. Reply

    Ness Lockyer

    May 26, 2017

    This has always been my thoughts on my own children online. People often ask why I don’t show them, and my answer/thoughts about it remain the same since day one…their life is there’s. It’s there for them to put up their own thoughts and images as they grow and learn that once it’s out there it’s forever. Just like it is mine to put things up I love that relate to my interests. What happens when they head off to high school, and there are images of them doing things we think are cute, but they could find embarrassing, and then someone at school googles them, or they google themselves? As adults we are weary of our own images being put out there, and being judged. So, for me, I don’t think it is right to put up photos of my children unless they know and are ok about it. I just think that’s for them to do, not me. Then there’s also the safety aspect. Every family is different, but for ours this is what works.
    Ness xx

    • Reply

      Katrina

      May 26, 2017

      I still love seeing people’s families and that’s also why I love the internet, but I think we should just be mindful of what actually goes online in regards to our little people. 🙂

  23. Reply

    Nathan Southwell

    May 26, 2017

    Unfortunately we are all groomed everyday, Social media has become a avenue business has used to reach many millions in an instant and they use many avenues jncluding our internet browsing to target this marketing. If it’s not here it would be where the mass of people are, business go where the money is. This technology can be used for and against us. In the end it’s all for money and business. Teaching kids at a young age what is acceptable is the key. It’s like anything in life moderation and educate yourself and kids to know what is suspect or not.

  24. Reply

    Lisa Harrison

    May 26, 2017

    I couldn’t agree more, Katrina. What I like the most is, you are modelling respect for others and their opinion/choice.

  25. Reply

    Anne-Marie McNamara

    May 26, 2017

    I never use their name or their image. People who I really want to share with get texts.

  26. Reply

    Kylie Bassingthwaighte

    May 26, 2017

    I was forced to think about it after my son asked me not to post photos of him. It’s not only our digital footprint, it’s theirs too.

  27. Reply

    Tania Scott

    May 26, 2017

    My girls aged 11-13 -15-16 hate me sharing images of them on Facebook i have to get their ok first.

  28. Reply

    Martine Oglethorpe

    May 26, 2017

    Because of my work I thought I should practise what I preach and always make sure I ask permission before posting photos. My 15 year old finally said “mum nothing you post is ever going to be more embarrassing than what me and my friends are posting ourselves!”

  29. Reply

    Carly Findlay Morrow

    May 26, 2017

    Thank you.

  30. Reply

    Belinda Doyle

    May 26, 2017

    My boys like to know what’s going up… however i prefer not to post photos of them on my biz account. As they are getting older they are able to do more and more by themselves and for security reasons I would prefer not to broadcast their faces, names and activities etc. My private account gets all the kid spam.

  31. Reply

    Sharon Nixon

    May 26, 2017

    We have to respect our kids to receive respect from them.
    I certainly wouldn’t like my son posting photos etc on the FB etc, of me all the time in every situation, so I respect that he doesn’t like me posting all sorts about him.
    He actually doesn’t post a lot himself anyway, so I do get his ‘OK’ if I do put photos online.
    Good write up Katrina x

  32. Reply

    Renae Doncon

    May 26, 2017

    My children are 19, 16, 8 and 6. For years a lot of new people I have met (through the younger kids) didn’t realise I have 2 older boys because they never saw photos of them on FB. Now I always ask permission from all of my children before posting photos and respect their decision.

  33. Reply

    Priscilla Skarpona

    May 27, 2017

    Have had very similar experiences. When I was writing my blog, my daughter found it frustrating that her peers knew every little thing our family did. I ended up not writing anymore because I am a storyteller, and without that I had nothing to offer (in terms of the blog). But I wasn’t going to compromise my children’s right to privacy. It’s different with you though, because you have a different focus- design etc. I find with my IG, I don’t post anything too personal, and rarely pics of the teens. I do love taking photos though and enjoy sharing just a little of our life. I just have to be mindful of what might be potentially embarrassing for the kids

  34. Reply

    Katie

    May 27, 2017

    My husband and I made a conscious decision not to put any photos of our 1yo online for this very reason. She’s too young to give consent. We’re in a new world where we don’t know what will happen with social media in the future. So we only ever post a picture of the back of her head or her hands

  35. Reply

    Chrissie Taylor

    May 27, 2017

    Love this Katrina ❤ I started writing a book a few years ago on the journey through Autism with my then 5 year old child. And the effects on the family dynamics. It was brutally honest. It needed to be to make a sale in a niche market. Books are hard to sell.
    Reflecting back on it 18months later, I thought “What if my child reads this? What will they be thinking about themselves?”
    I also needed to consider my husband and my other child and the possible psychological damage it may cause later in life.

    For the sake of venting MY frustrations and journey for a bit of pocket money-if any from book sales about the gritty part of my life I decided it wasn’t worth it.
    It wasn’t worth the risk of getting a name as an honest parent who writes about her struggles at the expense of my family. My kids.

    I love your post xx

  36. Reply

    Rhys Bower

    May 31, 2017

    You had a perm? Pics or no way!

    Food for thought Katrina. Would I like all our old family albums of me as a little fatty online? I would care, now, but as a 12-15 year old, I don’t think I would have liked it.

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